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Farming in the OC. Really.

Tue, 03/13/2012 - 11:07am
On Friday, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan met with producers in America’s most significant and diverse agricultural state – California. Many people wouldn’t think of farming in Orange County, but there is significant specialty crop production just a few miles away from Disneyland. Farming in southern California’s urban environment is particularly challenging and Merrigan’s first [...]

El Servicio de Alimentos y Nutrición Presentó su Primer Webinar de SNAP en Español

Tue, 03/13/2012 - 11:07am
La misión del Servicio de Alimentos y Nutrición del USDA (FNS) es proveer asistencia nutricional a todos los niños, familias y personas de bajos recursos que la necesiten para ayudarlos a estabilizarse económicamente.  Para poder lograr este objetivo, nosotros trabajamos en conjunto con una red de asociados quienes nos ayudan a combatir el hambre. Especialmente, [...]

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service Hosts Its First All-Spanish Webinar on SNAP

Tue, 03/13/2012 - 11:07am
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service’s (FNS) mission is to provide all eligible children, families, and low-income individuals with the nutrition assistance they need to help them get back on their feet. In order to accomplish this goal, we work with a vast network of partners who help us in the fight to end hunger. In [...]

Secretary Vilsack Reaffirms USDA’s Commitment to Support Tribes

Fri, 03/09/2012 - 4:08pm
It was fitting that the afternoon session of this month’s National Congress of American Indians meeting in Washington, DC, featured, as the lead speaker, former North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan. After leaving office, Senator Dorgan created a center for Native American Youth and remains an advocate for improving living conditions on reservations. At the event, [...]

Ensuring Food Stamp Integrity

Thu, 03/08/2012 - 11:51am
Cross posted from Politico: As agriculture undersecretary and a former director of state Health and Human Services departments in Maine, Oregon and Iowa, I know the importance of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps. In today’s difficult economic times, this vital program helps families across the nation put food on the [...]

SNAP – A Bridge to Success

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 10:26am
It’s no secret that participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has experienced significant growth over the past 10 years.  In fact, the December 2011 participation showed that 46.5 million people received SNAP benefits. What has caused these increases?  During 2011, the increases were primarily due to unemployment and more people in need as [...]

Welcome to National Nutrition Month! And Start Marking your Calendar!

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 3:56pm
Join Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on March 8th in celebrating “What’s on My Plate?” Day and help raise public awareness of the importance of choosing nutritious foods for a healthy meal. If you haven’t already joined the network, become one of almost 6,000 of USDA’s MyPlate Community and National Strategic Partners, all of which are [...]

Secretary’s Column: Opportunity for Farmers and Ranchers

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 3:54pm
Two and a half years ago, I announced a new initiative here at USDA called Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food. It’s the public face of our commitment to help farmers and ranchers of all sizes take advantage of new opportunities, meet the growing demand for local and regional food and succeed in America’s diverse [...]

National Nutrition Month Brings Accessible Nutrition Information to Most Popular Meat and Poultry Products

Thu, 03/01/2012 - 2:01pm
March is National Nutrition Month, and the Food Safety and Inspection Service is improving the way consumers receive nutritional information about the meat and poultry products they most frequently purchase.  Beginning today, ground or chopped meat and poultry products, such as ground turkey and hamburger, will be required to have nutrition facts panels on their [...]

Introducing….. The Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass

Thu, 03/01/2012 - 2:01pm
Are you a farmer, rancher or food business entrepreneur interested in local and regionally-produced food? Are you a community leader wondering how local and regional food systems can help your local economy? Are you a consumer interested in learning more about where your food comes from? Now you can learn more about USDA’s support of [...]

Urban Interest in Ag?

Wed, 02/29/2012 - 11:06am
I quickly learned this past weekend that the 2012 Farm Bill deliberations aren’t just being watched by folks who live in rural America. A conference in New York City last week demonstrated that many people in our nation’s largest city are also following the Farm Bill reauthorization discussions closely. As Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan [...]

Organics Take A Major Step Forward with U.S.-EU Partnership

Wed, 02/22/2012 - 6:04pm
Travis Forgues is an organic dairy farmer in the town of Alburgh in northwest Vermont, almost at the Canadian border and surrounded on three sides by Lake Champlain. Like many of the other dairy farmers in northern Vermont, Travis is a realist. He went to college. He tried city life. But he was born into [...]

Bringing Gold to the Red Poppy Capitol of Texas

Wed, 02/22/2012 - 6:04pm
Did you know that Georgetown is the Red Poppy Capital of Texas? I was surprised to find out that the city is known for the red poppy wildflowers that bloom throughout the city each spring. They hold the Red Poppy Festival each year in April and attract approximately 30,000 visitors. But red isn’t the only [...]

Redefining Agricultural Marketing

Wed, 02/22/2012 - 6:04pm
Over the years, the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has changed and evolved to meet the regulatory, statutory and market demands of U.S. agriculture.  The agency’s role, its name and place within the structure of USDA have all evolved over the years.  What hasn’t changed is the commitment to helping U.S. farmers successfully compete domestically [...]

Feeding More Kids By Working Together in the Midwest

Wed, 02/22/2012 - 6:04pm
During the school year, nearly 32 million children receive a free or reduced price lunch through the National School Lunch Program. During the summer months most schools – and school meal programs – close down, leaving children without an opportunity for nutritious meals each day. Here at the USDA, we want to make sure that [...]

Just the Facts: State vs. Federal School Nutrition Programs

Wed, 02/22/2012 - 6:04pm
In the past 24 hours, we’ve seen a lot of chatter online regarding a story from North Carolina in which a pre-school student’s lunch was deemed “unhealthy.”  We’d like to set the record straight. As established by law, USDA promotes healthier lifestyles for our nation’s school children through the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program. [...]

How is your Community Moving? Send us a Video!

Wed, 02/22/2012 - 6:04pm
Last Saturday, First Lady Michelle Obama announced the Communities on the Move Video challenge and invited faith-based, community, and other non-profit organizations to create inspiring videos about their efforts to reverse the trend of childhood obesity. The challenge will recognize community efforts that promote healthy lifestyles for kids by encouraging nutritious eating through USDA’s MyPlate [...]

True GRITS: Fighting Obesity in the South

Wed, 02/22/2012 - 6:04pm
It was a sunny and warm day in Frisco, Texas, on January 13. You would never know that it was the dead of winter. It was a perfect day to drive from Dallas to the suburbs well north of the city, to attend the GRITS Regional Summit on Childhood Obesity. Yes, that’s GRITS. No, not [...]

USDA Value Added Producer Grants: Turning Great Ideas into Sustainable Business

Wed, 02/22/2012 - 6:04pm
Earlier this month, Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced almost 300 Value Added Producer Grant recipients across the Nation.  Each one of those recipients has a story, and a dream that, with help from USDA, will become reality. From producing pumpkin puree and gourmet cheese to expanding a caviar production operation in Idaho (Yes, Idaho), [...]

Yes, We Have No Bananas

Wed, 02/22/2012 - 6:04pm
We left the cool warehouse with sticky shoes and smelling of spoiled bananas, but also with a warm feeling for having helped the North Texas Food Bank in Dallas ensure healthy, fresh food for their clients. Hundreds of cases of bananas had been donated, but when food bank staff checked the produce it was too [...]

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